For those of you that know anything about me, what I do and who I am… Cheers to you! The reason for my condescending salute? Well, it seems like this gorgeous city is all about who you are, what you do for a living and how much money you have.

My wife, (a “Cuban-American Princess”) tells me repeatedly to “stop being so naïve” or “it’s the same everywhere else.” But, due to my sheltered Canadian upbringing, I’ve developed an inner struggle with identifying something positive about this city and, in some instances even the select group of people that populate it. It’s enough to always render a person on guard or even apprehensive about making new friends. Friends, remember those? It seems that nowadays you can count those “friends” on one hand. Yeah sure you have your buddies, pals, or acquaintances. The moms and dads that you wave to and say hello to during your child’s drop off or pick-up time. I’m talking about the pinky swearing, loogie in the palm before a handshake, needle poking blood brothers we all seem to have forgotten. Trust me, this isn’t a grumpy old man yelling get off my lawn or I want things the way they used to be type of story, but damn. Can we stop being so conniving and crooked? For every smile and not so genuine greeting of “how are you”? There are three “so, what do you do for a living”?, or “what school did you go to”? That’s another thing that this Canadian import doesn’t understand. What does it matter if I went to Gulliver or Coral Park? Why is the Gables High School response met with a sigh of “poor thing”?

I’m sure this article is not meant for the majority that populate the area, but my guess is more of you will identify with what I’m saying than not. I feel we all somewhat struggle to keep up with the Jones’ and have a hard time putting things in perspective in one of the most beautiful, but jaded and morally vacant cities in America. Nonetheless, I want to be a friendly reminder that not everyone has an evil agenda, and nor do they need something from you. Much like that dreaded drive back home from Brickell after a long day’s work, you just have to be patient, navigate through the BS, put on some Bob Marley and be grateful and thankful for who and what you have in your life. Eventually you will get to where you want to go, and hopefully like the great Joe Cocker sang tweaked out of his mind at Woodstock…”maybe we can have a little help from our friends along the way”.

Life is hard enough by itself, add in the above mentioned and it becomes damn near impossible. So, the next time you are invited to one of these lavish, chest pounding extravagant house parties…you know which ones I’m referring to…the ones that look more over-the-top than my wedding but then turn out to be a 4 year old’s birthday party. Try to remember that the bar is open, the food is amazing and all you’re required to do is enjoy yourself. Then you can always leave with a smile at the echoing voice of the host complaining about how much this party cost him or her. Enjoy your sweat soaked shirts and frizzy hair this summer ladies and gentlemen of South Florida…. You deserve it!

Brett Romberg hosts the “Brett Romberg Morning Show” on 1210 The Man Monday through Friday 7am-10am. He is a member of the University of Miami HOF class of 2013 and former All American center for the 2002 National Champion Miami Hurricanes. After a 9 year NFL career Brett and his wife moved back to Miami from Atlanta and started their family in Pinecrest. He is now the father of three beautiful girls ages 6,4,1 and currently reside in Coral Gables.

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  1. I’m with Brett…coming up on 50 years, I remember swimming in the lake, drinking from the garden hose, and riding with mom in the station wagon-no air condition-no seat belt-no Game boy. Unfortunately Brett, we live in a different time when ALL IN THE FAMILY could never be on TV today because everyone is afraid of getting sued for hurting someone’s feelings. Who remembers the show DIFFERENT STROKES? somehow or another we have been driven into a race war that really wasn’t there and the politicians/media are creating it. Where the vanity comes in to play in this city and almost every other, is what you said about keeping up with the Jones’. True happiness comes from within and not in material possessions. Material things can be lost, stolen, or burned in a fire. But who we are as a person should be the defining factor. The movies and storytellers talk about “beauty within” like in Aladdin, a poor street rat who fakes his way up, then earns his way up. Why do we care that much about what other people think we have vs who we are? Jo De Messina recorded a song about being stuck in the middle and that’s all right. If as a people we realized there is always someone richer, someone poorer, someone prettier, someone uglier, someone stronger, someone weaker, someone thinner, and someone fatter than we would do well to accept ourselves and not need to feel the pressure of impressing anyone. Is a $100,000 4th birthday appropriate? if that parent thinks so, but the same is true for a $15,000 wedding if the bride and groom think so. Caring too much what other people think of us, only puts unneeded pressure and stress in an already stressful life.

  2. So you yearn for an unpretentious Canadian laid-back life style in which to grow your family, with a little more cultural variety, no social judgments, no one-upmanship? Here are a few suggestions:

    – don’t leave Brickell every evening
    – don’t attend deadly cohort parties in the Gables/Pincrest/Key Biscayne, unless you have a whiskey buddy
    – move to the Grove
    – hang at Books&Books and Gables Art Cinema
    – travel a lot
    – migrate from Dade, as many have done before

    Paris had its cafe society, Miami has the fiesta society, a tawdry mix of tourism, celebrity, and superficiality. Any respite is only temporary.


  3. You hesitated to say it, but you did. I thank you for that. In these unprecedented times, we need be reminded that life is really simple and our true friends are our real treasures.

  4. Miami, New York and L.A….the neurotic triangle. Superficiality, greed and insecurity seem to be the “virtues” most admired here. I grew up in Miami and have seen the changes, for the worse. You’re not naive…you figured it out very quickly.

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